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Hoosier legislators expect smoother session

House and Senate leaders say they’re looking forward to a less contentious legislative session than the past two years as the General Assembly convenes Monday.

The last two sessions saw sweeping education reforms, Right to Work, abortion bills and immigration measures that created significant conflict between Republicans and Democrats in the legislature. 

Now, the GOP holds a supermajority in both houses. 

Neither House nor Senate Republicans campaigned with promises of pursuing an aggressive social agenda, but House Minority Leader Scott Pelath wonders if the majority party can restrain itself.

“Will they be able to resist?” Pelath said. “Now that they have these supermajorities, are they going to want to indulge themselves in everything that they ever dreamed about doing?”

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says his caucus’ focus is on creating jobs, increasing school safety and keeping the state on a strong fiscal path.  And he says, even without a supermajority, past legislatures haven’t shied away from potentially controversial issues.

“We still have to make sure we take of our priorities but we’ll also have other issues to discuss as well,” Long said, “and it really will be the will of our caucus in the Senate and the House Republican caucus to determine how far they go.”

Potential sources of controversy in the session include a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and a bill allowing prayer in public schools.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.